If you’re seeking to get away to a place with a small town’s charm and slow tempo, Sauðárkrókur, located in Northwest Iceland, may well be your cup of tea. The village is a three-and-a-half hour drive from Reykjavík, and home to approximately 2600 inhabitants.
Located at the innermost core of the beautiful Skagafjörður, the town is the centre of commerce, services and then local fishing industry. There’s something very traditional and genuine about the place, and there are things to do include taking in the colourful architecture of the village, and visiting Grettislaug, the Regional Folk Museum, and going river rafting.
Stay: Hotel Tindastóll
It’s not hard to understand why Tindastóll is the local’s and tourist’s first pick, when it comes to the best place to stay. The staff is dedicated and helpful, and the hotel interior reminds one of a luxurious mountain cabin from a bygone era. You just want to snuggle down in the lobby with hot cocoa and play some chess. The best part though? The hot pool outside.
Drink: Micro Bar & Guesthouse
If you’re craving a beer, there’s one bar around, open three evenings a week: Micro Bar. With the Gaedingur brewery located just a few kilometres away, you can drink local craft beer while glancing at the variety of passersby (we barged in on the knitting club for example). Make sure to take a closer look at the wall art by the cartoonist Hugleikur Dagsson—you will discover small (literally speaking) surprises.
Eat: Kaffi Krókur
Located on the main street is restaurant Kaffi Krókur, which offers a varied menu that will most likely satisfy any basic food preferences. Since Sauðárkrókur is known as a veteran when it comes to fish, it’s highly recommended to order something direct from the sea here—their lobster soup is as fresh as the clear mountain air outside. If you can’t be bothered to make it to the restaurant, they do home delivery too.
Visit: Puffins & Friends Exhibition
Sauðárkrókur’s high-tech exhibition ‘Puffins & Friends’ allows you to get close up to these birds while providing you with some food for thought regarding global warming and ocean pollution. Footage of puffins, dolphins, seals, whales and polar bears is displayed on a 55″ monitor and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch some Northern Lights while exploring on the VR goggles.
Tour: The Tannery Visitor Center
Get a hands-on experience when it comes to local handmade leather by going on Gestastofa Sútarans’s complimentary guided factory tour that takes place weekdays between 9AM and 2PM. Their fish leather has received awards for being the best in the world, so don’t miss out on this hidden gem located in the only tannery in Iceland.
Activity: Black beach stroll
Borgarsandur is a very stroll-friendly black beach located east of Sauðárkrókur and stretching 4 km. It’s probably pretty neat going for a run there as well, if you’re one of those cardio bunnies. Surrounded by peaked mountain tops and, if the weather allows it, a clear sight over to the island Drangey, it’s a must see while in the area.
Distance from Reykjavík: 285km
How to get there: Drive Route One north then Route 74